The Spirit of Government

From our Constitutions

This page is for those visitors who really wanted to delve into the Society of the Sacred Heart! The following are the paragraphs in our Constitutions - our rule of life - that relate to governance. Other sections relating to prayer and community life can be found elsewher on these pages.

139.

The spirit of our government is drawn from
the interior dispositions of Jesus
who came to serve and to give His life for the world.
In Him, we enter into a new relationship
with one another in faith and love.

140.

Each one's commitment
to contribute to the progress of the whole
is an expression of our communion.
Each religious has a basic responsibility
which she cannot surrender
and which no one can carry out for her:
that of living in the truth of her heart and her life,
wherever she may be, the charism
of Saint Madeleine Sophie.

This means listening to God's calls
in the world, in others, and within herself.
She takes the initiative to suggest ways
of responding to these calls
and assumes the decisions taken by competent authority
in a spirit of active participation.

141.

Our co-responsibility in government is expressed
in a common search for the will of God
to fulfil our mission in the world.
This discernment will be the hallmark
of all our government.
It calls for interior freedom, willingness to serve
and transcendence of self
so that we are ready to go wherever we are sent.

142.

To some is entrusted the service of authority,
which they exercise to further communion,
with simplicity and love, aware of life in all its aspects
and obedient to the Spirit.
They have the responsibility
to facilitate discernment of God's calls
and the concrete way of responding to them.
They take the final decision in view of the common good,
and give leadership and direction for our mission.

143.

Thus, no matter what our service,
we all participate
in the growth of the Society,
in a spirit of mutual trust
which facilitates communication and welcomes pluriformity.
A sincere affection unites us
and draws us together in an ever stronger communion,
so that we may become
"one heart and one mind in the Heart of Jesus".

 

The Provincial Community

148.

That the Society may respond more effectively to its
mission in any given country or region, it is organized into provinces.
Other types of structure, called districts, can be envisaged according to need.
The superior general, with the consent of her council, has
the responsibility of establishing, modifying, uniting or
suppressing provinces.

149.

The PROVINCIAL SUPERIOR is named by the superior
general, with the consent of her council, and after
consultation with the province concerned. She should have
a sincere love of the Society, be a person who creates
communion, relates well and is sensitive to the signs of the
times. She must be able to work with others in a spirit of
co-responsibility and discernment so as to give leadership
for the mission of the province.
She governs the province in accordance with the Constitutions
and exercises authority and the responsibilities of
government with the help of her council.
The final decision rests with her except in those cases
provided for in the Constitutions.

She represents the province with respect to the civil and ecclesiastical authorities.

Her mandate is for three years, renewable once.

She must be finally professed for at least five years.

150.

The members of the PROVINCIAL COUNCIL are
professed of perpetual vows, chosen by the provincial after
consultation with the province and with the approval of the
superior general. They must be persons who complement
one another, are capable of working as a team and are a
support to the provincial in her work. They live our spirit of
communion among themselves and with members of the
province. The provincial and her council work together in a
spirit of discernment which demands time for reflection,
prayer and discussion.

There will be at least two councillors.

151.

The provincial with the help of her council is responsible for the leadership
of the province and for its spiritual and apostolic direction. She welcomes the initiatives taken
by individual religious and by communities.
She coordinates the efforts of all in the province to live the mission of the Society, in communion with the local
Church, in such a way that the religious can assume their co-responsibility.

The provincial with the help of her council is responsible:

  • to know the reality of the country and discern its needs
  • to give direction to the apostolic service of the province in the light of our Constitutions and the needs of the country
  • to encourage reflection upon and evaluation of our service of the Church and our life in the province and take appropriate decisions
  • to foster communion and ensure the effective participation of everyone through subsidiary structures
  • to discern with people what are the concrete needs in the context of the province's mission, its future planning, and the overall pastoral plan of the area
  • to ensure on-going formation in collaboration with those responsible for formation
  • to visit the communities regularly
  • to maintain communication with the hierarchy of the Church so as to maintain mutual relationships and follow its lawful directives
  • to ensure, in collaboration with the provincial treasurer, that the administration of temporal goods is consistent with our commitment to build communion by sharing with those in need, and to encourage this sharing
  • to encourage communication among communities and with other provinces
  • to foster and extend relations with other religious congregations
  • to give the required permission to those who preach to our religious (Canon 765) and for the publication of any writings which treat of religion or morality.(Canon 832)

The provincial sends the religious to their apostolicservice and their community.
She must visit the communities herself, at least every two
years; these visits are a way of strengthening and renewing
spiritual life and apostolic dynamism.
She also has the responsibility for all other matters required by the Institute and the Common Law of the Church.

152.

The co-responsibility of our provincial community
requires a common search for the will of God, a search
which gives vitality to our mission in the Church.
The provincial chapter and the provincial assembly, each
with its own structures, create a climate for this discernment.

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